Marriage & Relationships, Pregnancy & Birth

5 Great Ways to Tell Your Partner You’re Pregnant

So you have confirmed all of the early pregnancy signs and are ready to share the news. It is time to make a pregnancy announcement and tell your partner that you are pregnant. You might be excited. You may be nervous. Or, you may not know how you feel yet. No matter how you feel ,sharing the news with your partner can be a creative and fun time for both of you as you start this new journey.

  1. Scavenger Hunt
  2. Personalized “Dad” Gift
  3. Letterboard or Sign
  4. Photo Book with Special Ending
  5. Order a Baby Product Delivery

My Pregnancy Announcements

Admittedly, with my first child I was in such a state of shock that I just walked out, pregnancy test in hand, and stared at my husband. I took a pregnancy test as a precaution. We were about to leave for a holiday trip and had many brewery tours planned. I had been feeling a little “off” and so I took a test to ease my mind. My mind was eased in a much different way than I anticipated. Turns out those brewery tours were postponed a year.

Together, we had a lot of fun making an announcement video for our friends and family. It is almost painfully embarrassing now, but you can find the throwback video here.

The second time, I had fun with it and made it a surprise. I found out I was pregnant a couple of weeks before my husband’s birthday and was able to wrap my pregnancy test up as a gift delivered by our oldest.

With many ideas out there on how to share your pregnancy with your partner, it is easy to get overwhelmed with ideas. I know I did! However, I saved my 5 favorite ideas to share with you.

1. Make a Scavenger Hunt Date

Want to see how many clues it takes for your partner to get the hints? Set up a scavenger hunt with small clue eluding to the big message (the pregnancy announcement!) You can do a scavenger hunt in your own home or out in a favorite public place. One idea is to recount a recent conversation about a baby or dream you share about having a baby. Let the clues add up to the positive pregnancy test at the end.

2. Get a Personalized Dad/Mom Gift

Nothing says “You are going to be a parent” like a personalized gift! Find a favorite item that you can personalize with the word “dad” or “mom” to let your partner know a big change is coming. A few favorite ideas are:


1. Dad Keychain

2. Mom/Dad Mugs

3. Best Dad/Mom Shot Glass

4. Dad Joke T-Shirt

3. Letterboard or Sign

If you have a letterboard or chalkboard in your home, change the message to something like “Skaggs Party of 3.” Create a message that lets your partner know a big addition is coming. See how long it takes for him/her to notice the new sign. You could also hold the sign behind your partner while his back is turned and tell him to turn around towards you to see the message. Make sure to set up a camera nearby to capture the moment!

4. Photo Book with Special Ending

Making a photo book of family pictures is always a fun activity. In order to make a pregnancy announcement to your partner, you can make a book with a special ending. Create a photo book of your favorite memories together. At the end of the book, add a picture of your positive pregnancy test, a drawing of a family of 3, or other picture of your choosing. Order this book and then set a special time to look through it together. Enjoy the surprise at the end!

5. Order a Baby Item Delivery

Maybe your partner is not too surprised with an Amazon or Target delivery comes to your doorstep. However, they will be surprised if this delivery is a box full of newborn diapers, onesies, and other baby items. Surprise your partner by ordering baby items to your doorstep. Once it arrives, ask your partner casually to take care of opening it up. Watch as your partner pulls out all things baby and makes the connection!

There is no right or wrong way to make a pregnancy announcement to your partner. Whether it is surprised and direct (like my first) or it is planned out and captured (like my second), what matters is sharing in this transition with your partner. A baby brings many changes and at Postpartum Together, we are here to support you through them all.

Still Not Sure if You are Pregnant? Check out my post on the Zulily Blog all about Early Pregnancy Signs

Postpartum Prep Course

Once you are through the announcement period and are ready to make a postpartum plan, check out our eCoruse. We help you plan for the physical, mental, emotional, logistical, and relational changes that come after baby. We help you be prepared to handle the changes and be a team through it all.

Marriage & Relationships, Postpartum

You Need Boundaries After Baby

How to Set Boundaries After Baby for You and Your Family

Often I hear from clients and moms on social media that after their baby was born, they felt out of control. People wanted to visit. There were so many opinions. There was so little sleep and time to connect as a new family.

Whether you’re the kind who wants space after baby or wants visitors waiting at the door, it’s important to be on the same page with your partner and support people and to have boundaries in place that help you have what you need (because believe it or not, momma, YOU and YOUR NEEDS are really important). struggling to set boundaries with family after having my baby

Boundaries are How We Communicate Our Values to the World

Have you ever felt mean or even “bitchy” for needing and setting boundaries? Especially as women, we are often raised to be people pleasers. And yet, this is exhausting and doesn’t take our needs and desires into consideration. It is important to be a kind and giving person, but in order to truly do that, you need to establish boundaries.

Finding our values

When we set boundaries, we are challenged to identify and communicate our values. We must look at what we have the time, energy, space, resources for and what we do not. Boundaries communicate what we believe as a family and how our values reflect that. Setting boundaries leaves less room for confusion and resentment. Boundaries Can be Hard to Set For many, setting boundaries is very difficult. It can create a pit in the stomach and a fear of offending someone else.

Confidence in boundaries

While asking for and accepting help is vital for new families, so is having boundaries around what is helpful and what is not. While boundaries may feel uncomfortable at first, they can help you avoid even more discomfort doing the road. Without boundaries, you may have difficult and tense conversations and interactions in the heat of the moment. Without boundaries, you will likely experience your own resentment and feelings that interfere with your needs and emotions.

Related: How to find a therapist

Set Boundaries After Baby Inside and Outside of the Home

Inside the Home

When it comes to setting boundaries as a new family, you want to consider what you need inside your home and outside of your home. Boundaries inside the home include boundaries with your partner, with your time and with who comes in and out of the home.

These boundaries directly impact your “safe space.” For new moms this might mean setting boundaries that ensure that you have time to sleep and not host visitors. This might mean that anyone who wants to see the baby can also help with something around the house. This might mean being on the same page with your partner about the time you each need to yourself. It also includes setting boundaries around how you make decisions for things like sleeping and eating for your baby.

Outside of the Home

When it comes to setting boundaries outside of the home, this may be where you are willing to take baby. This could be deciding when you’re ready to attend a big family function or what kind of social events you want to be apart of. This means learning to say “no” to things that aren’t fully in line with your values so that you can say “yes” to the things most important to you.

In the current midst of COVID-19, setting boundaries both inside and outside of the home include being on the same page with your partner about the kind of restrictions you want in place as far as visitors, leaving the home, childcare, work, etc. Boundaries may mean that you are finding creative ways for family to get to know your baby. Boundaries may mean that you are doing things like grocery delivery to avoid the stores. There is no “right way” to approach this, except for being on the same page after conversation and research. (We will look at how to do this below.)

Related: Postpartum During COVID

Deciding on And Holding to Boundaries

1. Prioritize: Decide what is most important for you- for your time, your energy, your presence. Think about what you can let go of and what you feel firmly about.

2. Communicate: Use verbal and non-verbal tools for communicating with your partner and/or support team.

3. Examine Mind and Body: Know the implications of boundaries- what feels mentally taxing? What takes an emotional toll? Approach your boundaries out of these root needs/effects. Adjust as needed.

4. Define Circles: You likely have different levels of intimacy with different circles in your life. Define these circles and who is in each of them. Who is part of decision making? Who gets more intimate parts of your family?

5. Define Activities: What activities are you comfortable with? Specifically with COVID, what approach does your family take and why? How can you communicate these to others outside of your home?

6. Listen, Learn, Respond: Set an intention for listening without emotional charge. Learn from those you trust. Respond with firm kindness.

How to Prioritize Your Family Boundaries

making boundaries for your family with values
  • List top 5 values of your family and put them somewhere you both/all can see

  • Check with these values when you need to make a decision

  • In a new situation, schedule a “meeting” and commit to both doing prior research so you can make educated decisions together

  • Unite in your front of communicating boundaries as a team

RELATED: Marriage, Teamwork and New Parenthood

How to Communicate Boundaries After Baby with Your Partner

communicating with your partner about boundaries
  • Shared google document

  • Shared calendar

  • Physical whiteboard/journal

  • Weekly meeting (different from date night)

  • Deciding what you each can and cannot negotiate on

If boundaries feel like a big and difficult topic, you are not alone. We aren’t always taught to set healthy boundaries for ourselves and it’s not often we are given tools and tips for communicating our needs. It’s my hope that some of these points and tips resonate with you, normalize your experience, and give you the tools you need for boundaries that feel empowering for you.

Help with Setting Boundaries After Baby

If you want to set health boundaries and you are currently expecting, check out our next Postpartum Planning Small Group. If you are a new mom and want help setting boundaries after baby, check out one of our New to the Mom Crew or After the 4th Trimester small groups. There is a small group to support you in all your needs!

We talk about boundaries as a conversation to have with your partner during pregnancy in the Creating Your Postpartum Plan eCourse. This comprehensive eCourse helps you to prepare for postpartum by working through the changes you may face and how you want to lay the foundation for your family. You get a 10 page download to complete your own personalized plan while working through the instructional videos. In this course we talk a lot about boundaries because it can be hard to anticipate what your needs will be and what the reaction from others will be, but by proactively working with your partner and support team, you can ensure that you find and use your voice and set healthy boundaries.

Marriage & Relationships, Postpartum

Marriage After Baby: 5 Communication Tips to Save Your Relationship

5 TIPS FOR COMMUNICATING POSTPARTUM TO YOUR PARTNER

Postpartum is a huge transition. Our partner doesn’t understand all we are going through. It’s not surprising that marriage after baby and communication needed can be difficult in those early days (and beyond!)

The truth is they are also undergoing a huge transition AND we can use a few intentional tools to shed light on the things we are experiencing and needing as moms. By being purposeful about communicating your postpartum experience to your partner, you can improve the postpartum relationship and be a team in postpartum recovery.

When we talk about postpartum, people often assume it can be boiled down to postpartum sex, postpartum depression, and your postpartum body. Yes, these are factors, but there are MANY MORE. Helping our partners to understand the wide array of transitions we are experiencing, AND normalizing the reality that postpartum is more than just 6-12 weeks, we can have less misunderstandings and resentment and more of a team approach to this new way of family.

RELATED: Back in the Sack: Postpartum Sex

marriage changes after baby

WE CAN ALL AGREE THAT:

  • In postpartum, a lot of changes from the start and continues to change for weeks, months and years beyond.

  • Limited time together as a couple can cause added stress.

  • Shifting the focus on the baby means less focus on one another.

  • Sleep deprivation is hard on everyone involved.

You can tell your partner, in a moment of frustration, that he (sub she if applicable) doesn’t understand. He probably already knows this, though, and your reminder doesn’t help. Read on for things to try instead to help your marriage after baby.

1. Marriage After Baby: Pass Along What is Helpful to You

Do you find yourself following social media accounts or reading blogs to help you understand your own postpartum experience?
Do you have a go-to place that you learn and normalize with other women?
Have you googled a scenario and found information on a specific webpage?

Forward this to your partner. Share with him the accounts, pages, or books that have been most helpful to you.

Give him some insight into your thinking by passing along some outside insight.

sharing the mental load of parenthood through communication

(Important: This does not mean YOU do all the reading and work and pass along the cliff notes. Marriage after baby is STILL a 2-way street. You do NOT need to create more work for yourself. You simply pass it along and let him know that this information would be helpful for him to know and improve mutual understanding.)

Topics that you may want to pass along to your partner include:
Breastfeeding/pumping: Choosing to or not to and the implications of that
Birth Trauma
Hormone changes
The mental load of motherhood
Deciding to return to work or not return to work
Keeping a family schedule
Society pressures women face that men usually do not (body back, milk production, always joy)

2. Marriage After Baby: Change Criticism into Questions

This goes for both partners- so this is something to discuss and keep coming back to. In the heat of moments, it’s easy to throw around criticisms. I’m not immune to this, but training the brain for this mental shift can save a lot of heartache and the temptation of escalated emotions. When I want to criticize my husband, I try to remember to turn it into a question. Sure, I might think he’s totally sucking at something… but let me give him the benefit of an explanation and his perspective.

Usually, this insight allows us to connect. I ask the same of him- what he might see as an explosive wife might be a postpartum mom who feels lost in her escalated emotions that she doesn’t understand but is surely tied to a huge hormonal shift. Asking questions gives us both the chance to understand. Partners who understand postpartum more become not only better parenting partners, but better advocates in the workplace, communities, and beyond.

3. Marriage After Baby: Use a Code Word/Phrase

Sometimes we know that what we are going to say isn’t what we want to say. Sometimes a question or comment can provoke us to say it anyway… here enters the need for a code word or phrase. Having a keyword or phrase allows you to say “Not right now” to your partner and create a barrier. Give yourself the time to be in your emotions without reacting to them… and then plan a time to talk when you feel more rational and at peace.

4. Marriage After Baby: Share Lists and Resources

Trying to juggle doctor appointments, baby meds, grocery needs, and the ongoing to-do list? Let me tell you right now- you do not have the mental capacity for this. You do not need to carry that alone and your partner most likely doesn’t expect you to. Using a few resources to share the load can help everyone breathe a little more.

  • Utilize a family calendar. Whether this is digital or physical (check out this family whiteboard or this JUMBO calendar)

  • Share a digital grocery list that makes it easy to add when needed or know what to pick up when someone has a chance to stop at the store. We use Anylist

  • Have a priority-based to do list. Personally, one of my biggest triggers is my husband saying “What can I do to help?” Don’t get me wrong, the gesture is great but I don’t want to have to mentally think through what’s a priority. By using tiered lists, either of us can easily see what’s most important when spare time arises. We use Todoist

shared family calendar for mental workload of motherhood

5. Marriage After Baby: Be Mindful of Your Language

The way WE talk about our postpartum frames the way we encourage others to talk about our postpartum. If we want a cultural and societal shift, it has to start in our homes and this starts with how we talk to our partners. Take out the word “babysitting” when it is truly shared childcare. Take out phrases like “help me out by doing the dishes” and replace with “we need the dishes done.” Instead of saying “I’m just feeling crazy right now” say something like “I’m feeling overwhelmed with my emotions and I am not my best self.”

If we want the narrative, the societal expectations and norms to shift… we have to make these small shifts ourselves. Partners who understand postpartum more become not only better parenting partners, but better advocates in the workplace, communities and beyond.
So now I know what you’re thinking- this shit takes work. I know. I tried to find loopholes and couldn’t… but I leave you with these tips in hopes that you can feel more understood and supported in your postpartum- specifically from your partner. A supported mom is an empowered mom and empowered moms change the world.

Date Night Planner for Marriage After Baby

Wondering how to take the work out of reconnecting with your partner? I have you covered. Grab this Free Date Night Planner so when you have the time, you can use it to really connect!

Marriage & Relationships

Working Together with Your Partner After Baby

5 WAYS TO BE ON THE SAME TEAM

No one in their right mind will tell you that parenting is a breeze. On top of that, we know that doing this new, messy, and overwhelming journey while trying to keep clear and positive communication with a partner after baby can be… well… challenging and can leave you fighting with your husband over parenting styles or feeling alone. There are, though, ways to remember you’re on the same team in parenting and improve marriage and parenting communication and collaboration.

At work, you know that operating cohesively takes a plan and intention. Some things are emotional, some are logistical. The mix of both is needed and parenting isn’t any different. These 5 communication tips just might help you increase understanding with your partner after baby, decrease assumptions, be efficient and purposeful and enjoy your time together as a family more. (As always on this page- every family and dynamic is different and I don’t believe in “flawless how-tos” so know that some of these will apply to you, some might not, and you might have other ideas to add!)

RELATED: Back in the Sack: Sex and Intimacy

This site may contain affiliate links to products. This means, at no additional cost to you, I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

always mad at my husband since we had a baby

LISTS, LISTS AND MORE LISTS

Keep tabs on what needs to be done between you and your partner after baby.

In our home, we have tier 1, tier 2, and tier 3.
Tier 1: Non-negotiables. Worth losing sleep for.
Tier 2: It would benefit our life if we did these things. Choose them over most other options in “free” time
Tier 3: This would be really nice, but doesn’t come before sleep or other means of sanity seeking.

Lists can take the form of digital or tangible, but don’t leave them to mental. That never turns out well. Call it a “to-do” list or give it a name that feels fun to you.

Here are a few suggestions:
Anylist: Keep a running grocery list. If someone is out and can stop, they know what is needed. Share the list and you can both add to it anytime you notice you’er running low on something or have a new recipe in mind. This takes out the “Remember, I asked you to pick up ____?” Nope.

Trello: This app is often used for business, but is very relevant to sharing the tasks that need done in the family. You can create shareable boards and “cards” on each board. Make the boards your “tiers” and the cards the tasks that need completed. You can move them when completed.

Google Doc: You know how sometimes you start a heavy conversation at an inopportune time because you don’t want to forget about it or miss your chance? Doesn’t usually pan out well, does it? Share a running Google Doc where you can write the conversation topics you want to address when you have the time. (Make sure to schedule this time weekly/nightly/what works for you!) When you get a chance to talk, pull up the document and get the conversation going when you’re not in the heat of the moment.

Whiteboard on the fridge: No app here. Classic, simple, easy.

2. MAKE EXPECTATIONS CLEAR

We have a tendency to believe that other people know what we are thinking. Usually, we don’t marry mind-readers so this doesn’t work out well.  Our partner after baby probably does not know what we are thinking. Clear expectations can be key. Sometimes it means saying what you think should be able to be left unsaid. Over-communicate for clarity and understanding. You’re going to want to set up expectations at different times, too, as they are always evolving.

Perhaps you walk through the house and address anything you can think of in each room. Take notes if needed (that Google shared document again!) Have clear lines that divide you and your responsibilities and have shared things that can be picked up in a spare moment. Schedule your “you” time too so you know it is a priority and a time that the other can’t expect you to be diving into the to-do lists or picking up extra responsibilities.

RELATED: Postpartum Together Small Groups (We get real about ways to make partnership work!)

3. ROOT DOWN AND REMEMBER

Take time to root down in your values as a couple.
Create a vision board together.
Return to your 1 year, 5 year, 10 year goals and plans.
Revisit what made you start this journey together.
Have conversations that are filled with dreams AND take time to acknowledge together the goals you have accomplished and the dreams you’re fulfilling.

Remember- you are in a season. Some days it feels like a lifetime, but this season is not forever. Roles, expectations, needs- they will continue to change. Marriage in each season brings challenges, but sticking together helps ease through them.

how to share the mental load in parenting

4. LET YOUR PARTNER HAVE HIS/HER OWN WAY OF PARENTING.

Have you ever found yourself subtlety (or not so subtlety) telling your partner that you’d do it this way  or ___ isn’t good for the baby/child? Do you find yourself leaving too descriptive of an agenda when you’re leaving the house? Might you be a helicopter partner? Chill out a bit. Your partner is a parent too and he/she has made it this far- let them parent and parent their own way. (This doesn’t apply if you have reason to not trust your partner, in which case, that’s a bigger conversation than we’re having here.)

5. DATE YOUR PARTNER

Have date nights with the rule of NOT talking home logistics, parenting, etc. You are parents, but you are still partners and individuals and you need time to talk about the things that brought you together and keep you building your life together. This is a great time to revisit those goals and dreams. Watch comedy and laugh. Share what you’ve been doing or reading outside of parenting. Do a hobby together. I KNOW I KNOW it’s really hard to get a date (sitters, bedtimes, finances, etc.). It doesn’t even have to be out, you can check out these great ideas (I seriously NEED those pretzels!) for some at-home date nights ideas for when the kids are sleeping (That happens now and then, right?)

So remember- in the midst of this all- you are a TEAM. Communicating and collaborating takes intention. It takes time in the moments you feel like you don’t have a second to spare. It takes listening and speaking truthfully. But you- you can do it. You’ve got this. It won’t always be pretty (let me just normalize that because I KNOW it’s true) but you’ve got this.

Need to make it easier? Download this quick and easy Date Night Planner so that when the moment comes, you can get right to a date you enjoy!

communicating with your husband after having a baby

You’re on the same team: Team grow the kids, keep the house livable, have personal growth and fulfillment, and love one another.

The seasons change and so do you. Communicate. Collaborate. Celebrate. Do these things together as often as possible.

Tell me- how do you and your partner stay on the same team?


working from home with your partner

Related: Sex After Baby

Marriage & Relationships, Postpartum, Sex & Intimacy

Sex After Baby: The Groove

IS SEX AFTER BABY WEIRD FOR EVERYONE?

There’s a reason SEX after baby is one of the main topics discussed in the group coaching program I run, Postpartum Together, Sex is affected by every transition we face in postpartum AND it flows into all the areas.

This site may contain affiliate links to products. This means, at no additional cost to you, I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links

how long do people wait to have sex after baby

SEXY TIME JUST GOT AWKWARD

Oh hey, momma- There aren’t many things that are more awkward than sex after having a baby.

You are a few weeks (or months) out from having the baby. FINALLY, the house is quiet with no cries of hunger or a dirty diaper. “This is our chance,” you tell your significant other. You get to the bedroom and you start to undress the mombod you’ve acquired. Maybe this feels invigorating, but for many women, this comes with a lot of overwhelming feelings. In general, marriage with young kids can be hard!

Sex After Giving Birth

Whether you had a vaginal delivery, a cesarean, or your baby came out your ears, your baby-making area is not the same as it was just days, weeks, or months prior. To be fair- your mind and emotions are not the same as they were either. You have undergone what is arguably the biggest transition possible for a woman. So here you are trying to re-engage in intimacy with your partner- you know, the kind of intimacy that created this little human being- and yet it often doesn’t feel like a smooth transition.

A lot of women feel alone in this which brings shame and guilt. Women feel like they have something “wrong” with them. The reality, more women feel like this than we often believe and momma friend- you aren’t alone. In my virtual postpartum coaching group, Postpartum Together, a number of women have shared this being one of the most difficult transitions not just physically, but emotionally and mentally too.

It’s weird. It’s messy. Oftentimes it’s painful.

BIRTH, SEX, AND HORMONES

Pregnancy and childbirth are extremely hormonal. These hormones can have an effect on both your mental/emotional sex drive. They can alter your physical libido, natural lubrication and body preparation for sex. Perinatal mood disorders (postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, postpartum psychosis, PTSD) can also play a huge role in reluctancy, disinterest, and even fear of engaging in sex. Physically, the body has changed and sex can be painful. However, sex should not always be painful. If you are continuing to experience pain, get yourself to a physical therapist! While it’s not regularly talked about, pelvic floor PT is often necessary for moms post-birth and from experience, I can tell you it’s worth it!

When surveyed, a large number of women shared that on the first attempt at post-baby sex, they cried.
A large number shared that, on the first attempt, it just didn’t happen.

Instagram Survey About Sex After Baby

To bring some light and normalization, I recently took to the trusty Instagram to survey this hot topic. You’ll read what other moms say prohibit them from engaging in sex, how they described sex after baby, and some tips and ideas for making it happen and enjoying it again.

RELATED: Back in the Sack, Free Postpartum Sex Guide

postpartum sex pinterest-min.png

WHAT’S KEEPING WOMEN FROM ENGAGING IN SEX AFTER A BABY?

When polled, women of different ages, backgrounds, number of children, etc. responded with a number of related factors that play into sex:

-Not feeling it
-Postpartum anxiety which seeped into my sex life
-Sex came last to everything we had to do in caring for a newborn
-I was tired and didn’t feel like it
-Trauma from birth
-Stitches- even after I mentally knew they were healed, it was a weird thing
-Exhausted
-Having a baby always close by
-Not feeling sexy
-Feeling touched out
-Fear of pain
-Time
-Feeling like an exhausted dairy cow (breastfeeding!)
-Not confident in my appearance
-Being over stimulated
-Turning off mom brain and focusing
-Stretch marks
-Leaky boobs
-I’ve already given all of myself
Time, pain and anxiety were the three most common responses. Are these relatable to you? Let me know in the comments which reason resonates (or if it’s something else!)

THERE’S NO TIME FOR SEX:

Time: It’s no secret that babies take a lot of time. They are fully dependent, they lack sleep consistency, and any wrench in the schedule can take days to repair. This leaves parents feeling tired and with little “free” time for all the things they hope to accomplish.

PAINFUL POSTPARTUM SEX

Pain: Both vaginal and cesarean births come with changes to our bodies that take time to heal. After going through something as big (and sometimes traumatic) as birthing a child, the fear of returning or lingering pain is a reality for many women. Keep reading below for some insight from a professional on sexual pain.

RELATED: Fourth Trimester Restore (eCourse for pelvic floor and core rehab) Mention Chelsea at checkout

ANXIOUS ABOUT HAVING SEX AGAIN

Anxiety: Whether it’s a diagnosed case of postpartum anxiety or the specific areas of anxiety related to this new stage, anxiety can but a halt in our desires and effort for sex. In our survey anxiety was most frequently linked to body image and care for the baby. A woman who feels insecure in her body feels anxious about reengaging intimacy with a new look and feel. A woman who is continually worried about the well-being of her baby has a hard time getting her mind in the mode to be intimate.

SO WHEN WOMEN GET TO THE SPACE OF ENGAGING IN SEX AFTER HAVING A BABY, HOW DO THEY DESCRIBE IT?

-Painful
-Very rare
-The same
-Slow
-A process requiring patience and realistic expectations
-Limited
-Non-existent
-Tender
-Uncomfortable
-Interesting
-A nice thought, but not a reality
-The last thing on my mind
-Unexpectedly painful
-Not happening
-Well needed bonding time
-Horrible
-The best
-An afterthought
-Weird
-Exhausting and leaky
-Took 10 months
-Cringey
-Better
-Extra stitch
-Daunting
-Last thing on my mind (which causes some marriage rifts)
-Slow-going
-Painful
-Not on the radar
-Nerve-wracking
-Boring
-Amazing

Fear and Reluctance

As you read, a large majority of these descriptors link back to the fears and reluctances we read above. If postpartum sex isn’t as glorious as you would like it to be, there seem to be a number of women who are in the same boat. For some women, though, sex is better than ever after a baby.

IDEAS TO HELP GET BACK TO INTIMACY (WHEN YOU’RE FEELING GROSS/ANXIOUS/TIRED/PAIN):

The majority of women surveyed feel like their sex life has taken a hit post- baby for a number of reasons. These are important things to talk with your partner about (Click for a free Date Night Planner download!)

When we normalize the struggle and share some possible ideas for improvement, we all win! Here’s what the community has to say:

Try these:

-Watch comedy/stand up- laugh together to connect and loosen up
-Don’t force it- go for it on a day you feel more human
-Take a shower
-Wear your baby out all day or get a sitter
-Look in each other’s eyes and touch face
-Massages, hanging out in bed, cuddling
-Remove the expectation of sex happening and just be intimate
-Give yourself 5 minutes to self to mentally prepare/pray
-Have honest conversations with your partner about what you feel comfortable with
-Buy yourself something that feels sexy
-Wash your face, (or other 5 min hacks)
-Shower together
-Get a spray tan
-Text throughout the day to start the conversation
-Put it on the calendar to think about it and plan
-Ask each other about what to say/do during day to prepare for it and then practice what it is they share will get them in the mood
-Steamy text messages
-Back rub
-Pinches on the butt/playful during the day
-Long hug
-Essential oils

Download your Back in the Sack Guide to help you work through sex after baby and getting back into the sack with your partner.

postpartum sex tips

Tips for Better Sex After Baby

One momma who indicated that sex has gotten better post-baby shared: “Wait until you’re ready. It took me probably 5 tries to be okay with having sex again. I was so scared and it hurt like hell. The first time, I stopped him and cried and he just held me. But by having a partner to communicate openly with (and lots of lube!) practice can make perfect again. Plus- foreplay throughout the days in between. We are always playfully grabbing at each other, dragging out that goodbye/goodnight kiss a little longer and sending flirty texts.

I find myself wanting him SO much more and when it comes to the nights it’s more raw, passionate and wild now. Plus, I feel closer to him than ever before. There’s something about my husband witnessing and helping with labor and delivery, all the postpartum healing both emotionally and physically that brought us closer together.”

Jessica’s Tips:

Jessica, of The REALentless Mother writes about this in her book. “I always enjoyed sex with my husband but before kids, I was extremely self-conscious about how I looked, the sounds I made, even what my face looked like. I worried about it all! As a result, I spent more time in my own head than I did enjoying the intimate moments with my husband. After having 2 kids under two, I went on a challenging yet incredible journey to find balance and enjoy my life again.

I share this transformation in my latest book The REALentless Mother. On this journey one of the things I discovered was the less I cared about what others thought of me, the happier I was. This shift has had a massive impact on all areas of my life, but our sex life is one unexpected bonus. I feel free to ask for what I want, try new things, and put myself out there like never before. Since this personal transformation, I have surprised my husband with a risqué photo shoot, bought naughty board games (my absolute favorite new date night activity), and had the confidence to wear sexy new things to bed. After having two kids in two years, my body is not what it used to be, but I have never felt sexier in my own skin. Embrace and love who you are, Mama. Confidence is irresistible.”

POSTPARTUM SEX AND BODY IMAGE

Stop following “fitspiration” moms. Some of these people are paid to lose the baby weight. Some have genetics that are prone to quick loss. Some of them are dealing with medical/body issues you can’t see from the outside. There tends to be a big societal emphasis on postpartum women to “bounce” back or lose the “baby weight” but you still have a baby- you still have a body that is working through the baby process and this is not a time to give yourself a timeline and strict rules. The stress of it isn’t worth it. If someone is pressuring you, bye Felicia.

PAINFUL POSTPARTUM SEX

You might wonder if it was something you did or didn’t do during pregnancy and birth. In addition, painful sex can feel isolating and put unwanted strain on a marriage. Yet, you are not alone. In fact, there are a number of women that report painful sex or pain in their pelvis after birth. In many European countries, physical therapy after a baby is standard. Physical Therapy can do a number of things for your pelvic floor and body after having a baby, if you are able- check into it for yourself!

One reason for pain after birth can actually happen when the pelvic floor muscles become too tight. This can happen for a number of reasons, including birth trauma, past history of sexual abuse, and overuse or improper use of pelvic floor strengthening exercises.

So, what is a girl to do? The ability to relax the pelvic floor is the goal when it comes to painful sex and pelvic pain. Michele of Mindful Mama Method gives these tips for releasing the pelvic floor.

GETTING BACK TO ROMANCE AFTER BABY

sex after baby not excited

1. Remember that you’re not the only one feeling the way you do, even if it feels like it.
2.Communicate with your partner. Maybe try one of these at-home date night ideas!
3. Love yourself fiercely!
4. Let your S.O read this too, so they can get an understanding of other mommas. Share with a momma friend (or future momma) to remind her that we’re all in this together!
5. Let me know in the comments what I missed!

Are you a postpartum mom (or soon to be one?) If you would benefit from more support and community in your postpartum period (and who wouldn’t?), maybe Postpartum Together is for you. This is my virtual group coaching program committed to educating, normalizing and empowering your postpartum in the safety of a small group coaching experience.

Marriage & Relationships

Marriage After Kids: It’s Harder

This is not always a Fairytale

fairytale+marriage-min.jpeg

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ONCE UPON A TIME….

You fall madly in love.
Get married.
Plan your futures.
Have kids.
Your family is now complete and lives happily ever after.

That’s how the storyline is supposed to go, right? That’s what we are fed in books and movies. This is the fairytale that we learn as young children and hold on to, at least to some extent, as we grow older.

Should I leave?

There are 4 distinct times that I know I considered leaving my marriage. Once when I was nearing the end of my first pregnancy. Once when Emerson was just a couple of months old. And then, once when I was 39 weeks pregnant with Sage. Once when she was 2 months old.

See a pattern here?

Let me cut to the chase- kids can make a marriage really tough.

RELATED: Communication Tips for Postpartum Partners

NOT QUITE A FAIRYTALE.

Before kids I always heard about how “Seeing your husband as a dad will make you fall more in love with him!” Yeah, I mean, that’s true, but you know what’s also true? Adding kids to the family makes you doubt yourself, your partner, your relationship and more.

Sleep deprivation.
Hormone shifts.
Identify crisis.
Being entrusted to keep tiny humans alive without an owner’s manual.

new dad with onesie

Marriage After Kids Can be Exhausting

These things take a toll on you. And when it takes a toll on both you and your partner, chances are your communication isn’t as graceful, your nights aren’t as snuggly (or intimate) and even your well-intentioned actions aren’t as happily received.

Before kids, I would have described our marriage as a collaborative dream and adventure partnership. Currently I would describe it as a business transaction with a little flirting in the back office on a good day.

So Much and So Little

There’s so much shit to get done. These tiny humans, they double the amount of work-mentally, physically and emotionally- exponentially. We have to be extra vigilant about the calendar, the food prep, the laundry… we are constantly working on feedings, bathings, or cleaning up from one of the two. Our brains- they’re trying to remember what time the baby woke up and what day the next doctor’s appointment is. Other than that, they feel fried.

When we both feel “off” you can hear us comparing who got LESS sleep, who spent more time cleaning, who the toddler ran all the energy out of, etc. While momma is feeling touched out and insecure in her new body, dad is feeling completely unnoticed and undervalued.

RELATED: Relationships After Baby (eCourse)

HARD? YES. NORMAL? PROBABLY.

Chances are in this stage, you don’t hate your partner, you just feel distant. You feel unseen while also feeling out of energy to see your partner. You’re pouring into the lives of little humans who NEED you to survive and it causes you to put less energy into your partner who can (most likely) survive on his/her own. The little extra things you used to do, they are probably not in the forefront of your mind right now. You probably aren’t spending as much time out of the house and with your friends, so you feel even more isolated and irritable.

Do I hate my husband? No. Will this last forever? Probably not. Are these days and nights hard? Hell yes. Are you going to make it through? You are. We are all engaging something totally new together and we need one another to make it work but we don’t even know how to take the next step sometimes. Parenting is hard. Marriage is hard. Marriage while parenting is really hard.

When You Feel Like Marriage After Kids is Harder Than Ever, You Are Not Alone

I’m not a therapist. I’m no marriage expert. I don’t have anything extravagant to offer. What I can offer you is this- when you feel like marriage gets hard with kids, you’re not alone. When it feels overwhelming and you can’t believe you thought the thoughts you said you’d never think… you’re not alone. When it’s the middle of the night and you’re crying wondering why you feel so alone in a room with your best friend, you’re heard. When you feel guilty because marriage and parenthood are supposed to be the two best things in your life and yet you don’t feel blissful… I got you, friend. There’s more of us than we know because these are feelings we often fly under the radar. I’m team “preserve the marriage, invest in marriage and enjoy marriage,” but I’m also team “marriage is really hard, and we need more safe spaces to talk about that.”

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